We are proud to join with our local partners Temple Beth Shalom, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Shir Ami, and Shalom Austin to bring you an engaging evening of learning.
If you are looking for the Shavuot Festival Service links, please visit our service streaming page.
Click on the color-coded boxes to join the Zoom room for your desired class. All sessions in the same color/track are in the same Zoom room. No Pre-Registration Required. Scroll down to see complete class details.
Want to continue your learning through the night? After our community Tikkun Leil Shavuot ends, we encourage you to participate in the Conservative/Masorti Tikkun Leil Shavuot, which begin at 11am on Sunday, May 16 and runs through 11am on Monday, May 17. More information available by clicking here.
A printable version of the course list, descriptions and instructor bios can be found by clicking here.
8:00 – 8:50 PM
Keynote Panel: Navigating Uncertainty Through a Jewish Lens
Panelists: Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers, Dr. Nancy Nussbaum, Rabbi Rebecca Reice, Rabbi Daniel Septimus, Dr. Ed Septimus
Moderated by Rabbi Neil F. Blumofe
A discussion of the spiritual, neurocognitive, and medical/public health aspects of making tough decisions in the post-COVID world and beyond. How might our Jewish values inform our choices? What can we learn about the decision-making process? How do we navigate uncertainty to live both bravely and safely? Join this panel of esteemed rabbinic, medical, and psychology scholars for an engaged and timely discussion.
9:00 – 9:50 PM
Keynote Panel: Ahavat Ger: Caring for People Experiencing Homelessness
Panelists: Haggai Eshed, MSW (Board Member, Front Steps), Amber Fogarty (President, Mobile Loaves and Fishes), Elizabeth Baker, LCSW (Chief Strategy Officer, The Other Ones Foundation)
Moderated by Rabbi Amy Cohen, LCSW
Join this timely conversation as we explore what our Jewish values say about caring for our neighbors experiencing homelessness. How might we see greater likeness between one another? Hear from those leading the way in the greater Austin non-for profit community to carve paths to safety for those who are experiencing housing instability. We will open up this conversation to everyone online to discuss how the Jewish community can support these tremendous and often daunting efforts here in Austin.
10:00 – 10:50 PM
(Track 1) Lessons from Bamidbar: Journeying Towards an Uncertain Future
Rabbi Alan Freedman & Rabbi Eleanor Steinman
The years of wandering bamidbar (in the wilderness) provided the Israelites with precious time to prepare to enter their next phase as a people in the Promised Land. The combined experiences of the Books of Shemot (Exodus), Vayikra (Leviticus) and Bamidbar (Numbers) provide insights into how we can approach preparing ourselves and our community for post-COVID society.
(Track 2) See(k)ing One Another: An Interfaith Dialogue
Muna Hussaini, Rabbi Gail Swedroe & Simone Talma-Flowers
An exploration of texts from Christianity, Islam and Judaism as part of an interfaith discussion with Simone Talma Flowers, Muna Hussaini, and Rabbi Gail Swedroe.
(Track 3) Encountering Others (and Ourselves) in the Divine Image—B’tzelem Elohim
What does it mean to be created in the Image of God? How does this play out in “real life”. We’ll discuss these questions, consider the teaching of Rabbi Yitz Greenberg on the topic, and then join together in a virtual collective “loving-kindness metta” meditation.
(Track 4) The Soul of Soul
The recently released Disney/Pixar film ‘Soul’ explores deeply existential—and mature—themes of mindfulness, spirituality, and what it means to live a purpose-filled life. In its depiction of the afterlife and the liminal space between life and death, the movie incorporates ideas that are seen throughout Jewish text, asking some of the same big questions that have challenged Jewish seekers for centuries. Adra Lustig will lead a text-based discussion of a few Jewish concepts that were particularly resonant in Soul. No previous viewing of the film (we will show clips) or Jewish knowledge is required. However, watching the movie before attending would be fun!
11:00 – 11:50 PM
(Track 1) Nourishing the Soul Through Wonder
Aaric Eisenstein, The Avian Rebbe
“Wonder” is both a noun and a verb. We’ll be soaring through Jewish tradition, a singularly wonder-full lens to explore the wonders of birds. No experience needed, just an openness to nature’s beauty.
(Track 2) Seeking Wisdom From Our Ancestors: What Sefardi and Ashkenazi Jews can Teach Us About Crisis and Change
Dr. Harvey Raben
Coming out of difficult circumstances is historically a Jewish specialty. What happened in our past and how the Jewish communities of Salonica and Germany responded after WWI will inform us as we emerge from our own ‘tzurus.’
(Track 3) Reflective Leadership
The COVID-19 pandemic required the best of us as leaders for the sake of our company, family, community, and friends. Join Brett Hurt, CEO and Co-founder of data.world, Hurt Family Investments, and Bazaarvoice before, for a reflective discussion on his journey in leading data.world through the pandemic. This talk will be based on his five-part series in Austin’s cultural magazine, Urbānitūs: https://www.urbanitus.com/the-just-society-and-knowledge-economy-now-towering-on-the-post-pandemic-horizon/. You’ll also be called upon to journal and reflect on your own leadership journey during this most trying time.
(Track 4) Cancelled, Woke & Wondering: Anatomy of a Changing Narrative
From Civil War lore to a “woke”-from-the-dead lesbian activist Andrea Dworkin, we will look at current competing narratives to how stories change over time. By looking at competing Rabbi Akiva stories, we will look more broadly at how and why our own narratives change, and how they affect our current views of the distant past.
12:00 – 12:50 AM
(Track 1) Taking Creative Risk: The Artist & The Exodus
So many of us harbor some kind of creativity and a desire for creative self-expression. We are artists, writers, poets, and digital content creators. But the pathway from a private hobby to the professional or public sphere is daunting. Join Doug as we discuss creative risk-taking as a departure from fear, an embrace of uncertainty, and a decisive move toward the divine.
(Track 2) Holy Humor, Holy Chutzpah, and the Baal Shem Tov
Rabbi Monty Eliasov
Rabbi Monty Eliasov, utilizing both spiritual teachings and historical analysis shares his current understanding regarding the essential role of time-tested Chassidic values as they apply to all forms of Modern Judaism especially during these Covid times and potentially beyond.
(Track 3) Reader’s Theater: Who Defines a Jew?
In this session, we will read excerpts from the humorous and thought-provoking play, “Bad Jews,” and discuss what it means to be a Jew and how we think about Jewish identity. Participants are encouraged to read Stacey’s director’s note from her production of this play in 2018 prior to attending the session.
(Track 4) Stanley Kubrick’s Filmmaking Through a Jewish Lens
Stanley Kubrick is one of the most influential American filmmakers of the 20thcentury. His filmmaking comprises almost every aspect of the trade including script writing, production, directing, casting, cinematography, editing, etc. This presentation will explore his personal and family life from the beginning in his native community in the Bronx in NYC, his growth as a professional photographer and later as a filmmaker, the historical and political environment that defined his personality, and the maturing of his art as an immigrant, European citizen, and intellectual. We will briefly review Kubrick’s rich filmography that starts with his three documentaries, and includes thirteen feature films that span five decades of intense and ground-breaking production. We will also consider his Jewishness. Although not a religious Jew, Stanley Kubrick could be defined as a cultural Jew. His cinematic production was certainly marked by his personal and artistic views of the Holocaust, antisemitism, and the big questions regarding man’s life purpose and the general moral challenges of our times
1:00 – 1:50 AM
(Track 1) What Israel Means to Me
Rabbi Neil F. Blumofe
As part of our Tikkun Leil Shavuot experience, we offer an opportunity to come together in community to reflect on our relationship with Israel. Join us for open conversation, song, and personal prayer.
(Track 2) See(k)ing Connection Through Lecha Dodi
Dr. Jeannette Bland
Lecha Dodi came into existence “on the road,” around 1535 C.E. through Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz who was born in Thessaloniki and later settled in Safed at the time of the Spanish Expulsion. Here we unpack his multi-layered love poem and uncover a roadmap that offers us clues on how we might endure and eventually celebrate that which life gives us today. It is requested that this PDF be printed in advance of the class starting. We also suggest having about 10 different colored pencils ready for use.
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